Talon News - Good Local News

By Pilar Owens
TALON 

CITY CONSIDERS CLOSING POLICE DEPARTMENT

Budget woes move bloomfield to consider closing police department

 

October 5, 2018

RECENT GRADUATES FROM THE Bloomfield JunioR POLICE ACADEMY. The academy is ONE OF SEVERAL PROGRAMS THAT could BE LOST IF THE BLOOMFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT IS CLOSED.. - PHOTO- BLOOMFIELD POLICE DEPT.

Budget woes move bloomfield to consider closing police department

by Pilar Owens, TALON

In a letter posted to Facebook on September 20, Bloomfield Mayor Cynthia Atencio said, "With the City's challenging financial condition, spending a bigger and bigger share of the budget on the police department at the expense of other essential city services is not an option."

Shutting down the police department and paying the Sheriff's Office to provide law enforcement is one solution the city is considering. If the city goes that route, Bloomfield Police Department's (BPD) 14 law enforcement officers would lose their jobs. They could apply at the Sheriff's Office or the Farmington Police Department, but the background check alone could take up to two months, and there's no guarantee they would be hired. BPD's two community service officers and three secretaries would also have to find new jobs. With their jobs in limbo, a source that wished to remained anonymous stated, "Morale is definitely effected (at the department)...It's unneeded stress."

Another concern Mayor Atencio voiced in her letter is the fact that BPD has trouble finding officers and keeping them. More applicants would be willing to apply if they had the reassurance of working for a designated police chief. Bloomfield's interim chief is doing the best he can, stated TALON's source.

The source also said Bloomfield residents would face a 20-30 minute response time with possibly only two deputies assigned to the city. "These are their people," said TALON's source referring to the BPD officers' loyalty to Bloomfield citizens. BPD officers mentor youth in their PALS and Explorers programs, empower citizens through Neighborhood Watch, and build trust and camaraderie with locals at weekly Coffee with a Cop meetings. All of these programs would disappear if the department is shut down. "The guys are always out doing positive things in the community."

Before the City makes a final decision, they will hold a meeting for the public to give their input. In the meantime, one question to consider is: What are other solutions to Bloomfield's budget troubles?

 

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